Staying on top of ever-evolving technology trends is of utmost importance for today’s User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design. This fascinating field, which involves the creation of new products, apps, website designs and user interfaces, is deeply rooted in user psychology and well-established principles. At the same time, it is also heavily influenced by external social and cultural shifts. And while 2021 may not have been the best year on a global level, as much of the world was and is still grappling with the effects of a global pandemic, it was certainly a year for UX and web designers to shine. Thanks to an outpouring of creativity, the new year began with a variety of fresh, modern new websites making their debut, launching a series of trends worth keeping an eye on.
Successful websites and applications are those which feature optimized, seamless experiences that respond to users’ core needs. Today’s web designs must remain up to date with impactful web trends, eschewing stale or outdated styles, and always follow UX best practices. In this way, your website will excel, and continue to positively impact your business.
So what are the UX and UI trends to look out for in 2022? We take a look at 5 standout developments that emerged at the end of 2021, which we expect will be setting the stage for UX best practices for the year to come. From remote work, to metaverse anticipation and digital wellbeing, this is how our interactions will be shaped in the near future.
People are spending more and more hours staring at screens, frequently switching between computer and mobile devices. And as we enter year three of the pandemic and remote working, it’s no surprise that many of us are experiencing eye strain and what has been dubbed as ‘Zoom fatigue.’ Designers are responding to this excessive screen time by placing emphasis on user comfort and overall experience in their designs, and steering clear from innovative, flashy websites that simply add to the noise.
This means utilizing color schemes that are non-disruptive and easy on the eyes. Soft color palettes in muted tones such as greens, pastels, blues or light pinks induce a sense of calm and relaxation, while fun, optimistic designs help inject a little bit of extra happiness into an otherwise dreary world.
The use of dark mode has also seen a rise in popularity, as users try to keep their screen time as comfortable as possible. Since most browsers can now toggle easily between light and dark modes, designers need to consider what their website will look like with a dark mode color scheme, and ensure it is still easily readable and accessible.
This year, we’re seeing a lot of big, bold fonts and experimental type options dominating website designs. This is a popular option for injecting some flair into your website design and avoiding the ‘sameness’ seen with many website templates, while at the same time ensuring that it remains readable and accessible. Though big typography is generally associated with less commercial websites, it is becoming more and more prevalent across all types of user interfaces, including enterprise-level products. Indeed, the options are seemingly limitless – you can mix and match characters for the main headline, use adventurous fonts, and even layer text with images. There really are no rules when it comes to typography, and designers are flexible to play around freely.
One thing to look out for when designing the typography for your website is to make sure that the typeface you choose remains responsive, as everything looks different when viewed on a mobile screen.
Animated websites were once the bane of a user’s experience. Designers, excited with the ease with which they could animate their websites, filled them with fancy simulations that required users to download Flash players to view them, and it all became a bit too much to handle. As a direct result, trends drastically shifted the other way towards a more minimalist approach, until today. With the annoying use of Flash now a long-gone memory, new browser technologies allow web designers and developers to reintroduce animated websites in a way that is both stylish and effective.
Indeed, moving illustrations help bring some dynamism to your website, and create an immersive, fun, and interesting user experience. After all, people are immediately attracted to motion, and by bringing your website to life, you can tell your story in a way that creates a meaningful and emotional connection with the user.
Of course, in order to avoid the pitfalls of the Flash days of yore, it’s important to take into consideration the following caveats when animating your website: make sure your website performance doesn’t suffer from long load times, avoid animations that are overwhelming and overly ‘busy,’ and utilize micro-interactions. These are small interface changes that help users navigate an app or a website in subtle ways, an advantage that breathes life into your design and keeps your user engaged for a more positive experience.
One of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic was that consumers’ shopping behavior changed significantly. Lockdowns and curfews meant that people were spending more time at home, and shopping made a major shift to online. This ultimately led to customers missing a lot of the real-world experiences they would have otherwise enjoyed when physically interacting with products, and as a result, many developers began integrating 3D renderings in order to recreate this experience at home.
In contrast to simple 2D images, 3D designs are a way to bring real-world feelings into your website. Users can interact and engage with your products and services in a way that is similar to how they would in a store. There are many ways to incorporate 3D representations into your website, some more complicated than others, but any way you choose to utilize 3D is sure to enhance visual interest by creating interesting compositions for a modern and unique website design. As always, keep in mind user experience by ensuring that your 3D animations integrate seamlessly with the rest of your content, and your website performance remains fast and unaffected.
Virtual Reality has been around for a long time, but with Facebook’s recent rebrand into Meta, and the ever-growing hype for the metaverse, it appears that virtual experiences are becoming part of the mainstream. Of course, gone are the days of clunky headsets and slow loading times. The new VR technologies are now more streamlined and will continue to blur the line between online and digital life.
This is especially prevalent in a post-pandemic world, where things like interactive online shopping or virtual meetings are becoming more popular, and users will want an experience that is as close to real life as possible. Of course, the real impact of the metaverse is only just beginning to gain momentum, and the new potential it will represent in terms of design awaits to be seen. One thing for sure is that the design world is set to experience a whole new ballgame.
Have you witnessed any of these new trends in web design and UX? Which seems the most promising to you? There are a myriad ways you can merge these elements into your projects – whether a brand, a website, or an app, while still maintaining what is most important in design: creating an experience that responds to a users’ needs, solves their problems, and engages with them.
Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help you prepare your brand for 2022.